Life is such a collection of Graces (Photo-shoot – Rebekah and her sibs, et al)


I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:3-6

Here is the promised photo-shoot – impromptu – from our quick family visit to Jacksonville. I say impromptu because late in the afternoon I suddenly noticed the waning light and yelled “PICTURES!” Somehow the younger cousins were all dressed in complementary colors; however, as you can see from the lively display of competing patterns, members of the older generation were not!

Worth the Effort:

Rebekah with her siblings

When there are multiple brothers and sisters it’s not easy to be together in one place at one time. But the gap between Christmas and the New Year has been set aside from time immemorial for Alexander sibling feasting (or at least for many decades) and this year we met in Jacksonville on the 28th.

Interstate 95 (of course) was clogged going down but it was worth the drive to simply be a family for twenty-four hours. Heather and Jesse are always gracious hosts and while the older five cousins were in Virginia Beach, Germany, Charlotte, California, and Richmond, the younger set were all able to be there.

Weddings… or funerals:

1-DSC_0394One day – hopefully for a wedding rather than a funeral – maybe we can line up all the sets of five once again. The five Alexander siblings; the five “outlaws”; the five older cousins; the five younger cousins (Plus, of course, the cousins’ spouses and significant others, their children… maybe some pets…).

So we celebrated family, we shared stories, we listened, we loved, we feasted, we gave thanks. Most importantly, the giving thanks.

Life is such a collection of graces. There, in Florida just ahead of the New Year, we celebrated the goodness of God and the privilege of family.

(All the photos should be labeled with enough information to figure out who is who.)

In love, and because of love – DEREK


commentary faith Family photogrpahy relationships

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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